Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

I'm knitting.

Knitting has been one of the harder things to take back, post-Judah. Several things have languished. Knitting, though, in particular... everything I started in the final month with him has been ruinous. I screwed up halfway through one shawl and tried to slog my way through my fuckups, to no avail; ended up taking it apart early this week. Then turned my attention to the last thing I started before everything went obviously to hell, as opposed to the boiling-frog situation I'd been in - a shawl I started on my way to Wiscon. I knitted all the way there. Didn't knit on my way back from Wiscon - because we'd had that terrible fight the night before on chat and on the phone, where he bragged about cheating on me the entire week I'd been gone and told me he'd lied about the HPV status of the first person he'd cheated on me with in May, and dipped into that cold nasty sadistic voice. And he was picking me up at the airport. I spent the three hours on the plane composing things in my head, spinning out scenarios, dreading being trapped in the truck with that monster wearing Judah's face. Could not touch my yarn. I picked that shawl back up this week, knit dozens of rows... and realized that the yarn was too variegated for the lace pattern. *rip*

I cast on for a shawl in Elayna's college colors in the car on the way to Readercon; I did little bits during people's readings, then set it aside til my trip to michaeldthomas and rarelylynne's, when I worked on it on their couch watching Slings and Arrows, then I marathonned it at home, because I had to get it done before she left for college, had to. And I did. And that was a thing I could do thinking just of her.

The shawls I took apart were things I started in April and May, and I just picked them up again this week, after sending Elayna to college. I know my timeline is kinked here. Elayna's shawl was an interlude, is what you should know. Between the nightmare and picking back up the misfires I'd committed during the nightmare.

Back to square one.

I unmade a shawl yesterday. I wound yarn yesterday. I woke up today thinking I'd knit myself some fingerless mitts, but I couldn't stop thinking about a certain yarn in a certain pattern. A few years ago, when I'd had more money, I splurged on a mystery Sundara Yarn seasons pack. I requested autumn, of course. And got fingering-weight yarn in a pinky-purple (which I traded for one in golden-fawn, which became a shawl for my mother) and DK (which was closer to worsted) in a yellowy-grey-green. Which was, I felt, not autumnal, and I was cranky, and I didn't feel there was anything I could do with that color.

I've since fallen in love with that color. You can see it in my craft room and on my desk. But the yarn was still waiting.

For this pattern: Lichen.

Because it's beautiful, but also because another thing I haven't been doing much is writing. I've gotten some poetry out, but I've yet to return to storytelling.

In Cicatrix, there's a part where Ash first goes Elsewhere. I'll excerpt it for you here.


...and you - you didn’t fall, not really. You ascended. Your mind left. Your body was there, was rooted, but you were not there, you were elsewhere. You were in the forest, and you were safe

you are eight and you are safe

far far away from anything you knew, huddled in a forest clearing. Pressed against a rough grey boulder with its ruff of lichen, ruffle of mushroom and strokeable carpet of kitten-soft moss; it was cool in the shade and your skin was so hot, you were so feverish and shaking, and you just pressed yourself against the stone, slowing your breathing, being stone. Eyes closed, you drowned in the breeze and the birdsong and the scuffling of small animals on the forest floor and up the trees, and the overpowering scent of everything, the cinnamon of sparrows, the pungent loam, the silver sweetness you had yet to identify; the deep soft resin of the stone

Not his cologne, sharp alcoholic tang that made you gag, no

The deep soft resin of the stone.

Your hand skittered over the grass eventually, a softer scent, like worn linen, prickling your fingers; you pressed your hands flat on it, breath hitching

You are eight and you are safe

Safe. Safe, heartbeat slowing, and you opened your eyes.


And my brain does things with stories it's sufficiently immersed in. Obviously scent is a thing, but all senses are a thing. So I'm knitting lichen. I'm knitting lichen because it is beautiful but also because there is lichen in Ash's safe space.

And so my brain sings as I knit. "I'm knitting a safe space..."

And I realize that it's singing that to the tune of another song, and now that song is what my brain is singing.

"Poor Atlas", by Dessa.
I'm building a body
From balsam and ash
I'm building a body
With no God attached

I'm building a body
From blueprints in Braille
I'm building a body
Where our design has failed

There's a book full of plans
At the feet of poor Atlas
Titled "For Man"
But the architects only drew blanks

Now there's nowhere to go
But go back, go back, go back
Go back

I knit in perfect rhythm to the song. It's stockinette with increases and decreases at regular intervals, graceful and steady, a consistent tempo. I'm knitting a safe space. I'm building a body. I'm building a body from balsam and ash....

Sometimes I create a place in more ways than one. Sometimes the ways you find to take you back aren't the ways you'd mapped last time. Sometimes things are slow and you can dance them precisely.

Now there's nowhere to go but go back, go back, go back, go back...
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